We have found, simply put, the best holiday in the world. Two words: Hotel Vittorio.
On Ischia, the Italian island near Capri (but better, less touristy), Hotel Vittorio sits on the most private end of the best beach on the island - Maroni Beach - like a white cruise ship, growing out of the volcanic cliff it nestles in. Everything: dining room, every room, has a deck facing the sea. Imagine, if you can, layers climbing up: sea. Sand. Next layer: deck. Glorious pool, naturally warm from thermal, volcanic water - with the kind of minerals people pay good money to bottle and put on their skin (our skin, as Katrina put it, became 'like a baby's). Then, behind the pool, the even hotter pool, shown above - a kind of hot tub, in a grotto. Sauna. Every kind of spa treatment you can imagine (my husband even did the natural mud - the 'fango' - top to toe).
Then layering up and up, three floors of rooms and decks, all with a view. And the most amazing Italian cuisine. Delightful staff, and guests who get it. As people arrived, bear hugging the staff, it was often difficult to tell who were guests, and who were old friends. As we soon learned, it's the same thing. We were the only English guests, and it didn't matter. Soon after our arrival, I started feeling Italian. Swimming in that glorious sea, then the pool.. to wake by going to the sauna, the sea, the hot tub, then the buffet breakfast.. peaceful, blissful days into nights, just the sound of the sea, always the sea.
Perhaps we were lucky: the weather was perfect - not a cloud in the sky, average about 88 fahrenheit - and we had the loveliest neighbours on deck next to us, Katrina and Hubert, from Vienna, who have been coming here every year for twenty years, and who are now our good friends. In fact, we're hoping to time our next trip with theirs. But who knows: we might not be able to wait a year. It was so easy to do - a quick hop to Naples airport, then a lovely ferry ride over (I love being at sea) that we might just do it again this summer - or September.
There is so much more I want to say about this magic place, and especially, all the photos I will share with you. This is a start.
This is paradise.